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Ministry of Education.

A profile of Ada McGrath



We know that she had a pre-marital affair with a music teacher that resulted in her becoming pregnant with Flora. From this we can discern several things:

  • She is passionate. We can see in the way she retells the story to Flora that she tries to convey just how passionate the affair was.
  • She is something of a rebel. She flaunted society's conventions about pre-marital sex and has raised and loved Flora regardless. (The fact that her father married her to someone on the other side of the world could suggest that he was trying to get rid of this "embarrassment.")


  • She uses the piano to express her thoughts, however these thoughts are private and important to her. She stops playing when a woman looks around the door of the room.
  • She can convey her thoughts very clearly without words. When Baines tells her to go away and only come back if she loved him, she hits him first and then kisses him. Also when the sailor asks if she would like to continue on to Nelson, she tells him very clearly what she thinks.
  • The voiceover at the beginning and the end of the film indicate that she is intelligent and free thinking. She sounds optimistic about moving down to New Zealand, suggesting that she is adventurous or romantic.

Published on: 12 Dec 2010